American Look: Sportswear, Fashion and the Image of Women in 1930s and 1940s New York

American Look: Sportswear, Fashion and the Image of Women in 1930s and 1940s New York

by Rebecca Arnold
     
 

Drawing on a wonderful array of sources, from fashion magazines such as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue to department store records and surviving garments, The American Look presents a rich and multi-faceted exploration of the development of a distinct New York fashion style in the 1930s and 1940s.

Tracing the growth of the sportswear fashion

Overview

Drawing on a wonderful array of sources, from fashion magazines such as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue to department store records and surviving garments, The American Look presents a rich and multi-faceted exploration of the development of a distinct New York fashion style in the 1930s and 1940s.

Tracing the growth of the sportswear fashion industry from its functional origins to its adoption as casual wear for all occasions by career women and housewives alike, author Rebecca Arnold shows how New York's emergent style in the interwar period was both dynamic and modern--much like the city itself. She argues that its essence was expressive of the American ideal of athletic, long-limbed figures and related to theories of body image, gender and class; that its designers such as Claire McCardell, Clare Potter and Tina Leser, were themselves embodiments of the modern, active woman; and that its style was connected not just to ideals of patriotism and democracy, but to notions of cleanliness and hygiene.

Beautifully illustrated, The American Look offers a unique insight into fashion, modernity and ideas of Americanness in the twentieth century.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

""Written with clarity, elegance and meticulous attention to detail, this important new book raises the bar for fashion scholarship. Here is a genuinely new history that both challenges existing myths about Paris and sets American fashion in its proper cultural and economic context. Rebecca Arnold’s adroit study shows how the lens of fashion can be refocused to reveal important insights about gender, identity and nationhood.""--Caroline Evans, Professor of Fashion History and Theory, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781845118969
Publisher:
I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
Publication date:
02/17/2009
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Rebecca Arnold is Research Fellow in the History of Design Department at the Royal College of Art in London. She was Guest Professor in Fashion Studies at Stockholm University, 2006-2007. As Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, University of the Arts, she established the first UK undergraduate degree in Fashion History & Theory. She has lectured and written widely on twentieth-century fashion. Her first book, Fashion, Desire & Anxiety: Image & Morality in the Twentieth Century was published by I.B. Tauris in 2001.

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